As such, Dowling loved his visit to Palo Alto, but felt the experience was bittersweet without a Cardinal offer.
"I was completely blown away," Dowling said of the trip. "I loved everything I saw, [but] I'm a little bit heartbroken because they didn't offer me and I might not get to go there. I love Stanford and I loved everything. I loved the coaches, I really like the offensive lineman, [Dowling's host David Yankey] was real cool to spend the night with. I love the fact that it's Stanford University and the degree that you get if you graduate from there."
Nonetheless, Stanford has vowed to maintain contact with Dowling and could very well offer the talented lineman later in the recruiting process. The Cardinal plans on visiting Dowling at his high school next month, and invited him to their prospect camp over the summer.
"They said they'd come out and visit me in May, they'd like me to give them a call every couple of weeks just like a coach who offers a scholarship," Dowling said. "They want me to stay in contact. They want me to keep thinking about Stanford."
Even with the disappointment of not receiving a Stanford offer, Dowling said he is still considering the Cardinal, and lists Stanford among his favorites.
"They're still in my top two," Dowling said of Stanford. "UCLA is definitely No.1 for me. I really like what's going on at UCLA; I really like the changes. But if Stanford comes around with an offer, they're definitely tied for first place."
Dowling is unsure of how long he'd be willing to wait for a Stanford offer before committing to another school, and said that's a matter he plans to discuss with his family.
"UCLA would like me to commit right now, and I don't want to make UCLA wait for an offer that might never come from Stanford," Dowling said. "I might commit now; I might commit later. It's a decision that my family and I need to make."
As for the visit itself, Dowling left Palo Alto with high praise for the Stanford football program. He and his father arrived in the Bay Area Friday morning to begin the Junior Day activities.
"Friday I got there a little bit early, so I could have lunch with the coaches, Coach Anderson and Coach Sanford," Dowling said. "I had lunch with them. They were really organized, they gave me a folder with all of the stuff, the itinerary, a nametag. I was really impressed with how organized they were, and they gave us a tour. They showed us the facilities.
"Friday night I got to spend the night with David Yankey. Saturday we pretty much did the same thing. I got to see the scrimmage, and we got another final tour of the facilities, and then we left."
Dowling bonded with several of the other recruits on the visit.
"[I spent time with] Alex Anzalone, he's from Pennsylvania, he's an insane football player," Dowling said. "He got invited by all three All-American games. Another guy, Ben Gedeon from Ohio, he's a real great guy. All the recruits who were there I liked them all, they liked me. It was a good experience to be around them."
Before leaving Stanford, Dowling sat in on a lengthy presentation about Stanford's admissions process.
"They gave us like an hour-long presentation on how it was going to be," Dowling said. "I'm in AP classes. I have like a 3.9 overall GPA. I don't think it's going to be personally an issue for me to get in, it's just the offer situation is what's holding me back."
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